Vaccination: The most effective way to end the pandemic

We now are approaching one year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Dubuque County. It’s been a difficult year in many ways, but we are so very fortunate to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine.

We know many of you are eagerly anticipating your chance to receive the vaccine and are wondering when that will be. The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed in phases, guided by the CDC and state health authorities. People with the highest risk of complications from COVID-19 are first to receive it.

This includes residents of nursing homes and frontline health care workers. As more vaccine supplies are available, more people can get vaccinated. And as more information is available, you will find details and timelines specific to Dubuque County at www.dubuquecounty.org/COVID19.

For those who are wondering if they should get the vaccine, we want you to know this:

Vaccination is going to be the most effective way to end the pandemic, and we are confident in the safety of the vaccine.

We encourage everyone to receive the vaccine to protect themselves and help end the pandemic. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for everyone ages 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine is authorized for everyone ages 18 and older. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those with a history of allergic reactions to vaccines should first speak with their doctor. Both vaccines showed an almost 95 percent effective rate during their trials.

However, despite the vaccine beginning to be administered, it is important to not let your guard down. Remember that until we get a critical number of people vaccinated (at least 70 percent of the population) and we get to a point of controlled community transmission, we will need to practice all of the measures that we have been practicing for the past year:

• Wear a mask and maintain safe distancing when you are outside of your household.

• Avoid large gatherings.

• Wash your hands often.

Health authorities will inform us when it is safe to change our safety protocols.

Visit these websites for the latest information:

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus 2019: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/

• MercyOne COVID-19 Vaccine Information page: www.MercyOne.org/covid19vaccine

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